MarketLine Blog

The importance of providing a multichannel, personalized experience to retail consumers

An IBM study of 30,000 respondents found that consumers were willing to share their personal information, such as their current location via GPS, mobile number, and social media handles, particularly if they received good value in return. 36% of consumers were willing to share their location, 38% would share their mobile numbers, and 32% would share their social media handles with retailers.

Jill Puleri, IBM Retail Global Industry Leader explains, “Today’s consumer has been conditioned by multiple industries — from healthcare to travel — to expect personalized interactions across different channels… It’s imperative that retailers enact a Big Data and analytics strategy that ensures they use consumer information wisely, gaining their customers’ trust and loyalty by providing value in exchange.”

IBM has defined four groups that consumers fit into, with regards to their use of social, location, and mobile technologies whilst shopping.  19% of consumers surveyed were much less likely to utilize technology compared to the majority of the population. 40% engaged in information gathering, but were unlikely to use their social, location, and mobile technologies to purchase products. 29% used these technologies for researching as well as purchasing goods. The last group, which IBM recommends retailers focus on, are “Trailblazers”.  This group made up 12% of those surveyed, and this group was likely to base their choice of retailer on their ease of using technologies across channels. IBM expects that consumers already using technology to shop will increase their usage. IBM describes Trailblazers as having “a higher income level, are more optimistic about the future, plan to spend more in 2014, and are very socially engaged.”

Companies now need to focus on the challenge of omnichannel, or multichannel, retailing – “the practice of providing consumers a connected, personalized experience across online, mobile and in-store channels”, as defined by IBM. Omnichannel retailing provides a problem of both data volume and the broadness of data. The challenge facing retailers is not only combining data from consumers but making sure it’s done so in a timely manner. Consumers now expect their shopping experiences, including recommendations and offers, be personalized based on their past activity.

IBM ends, “Retailers should look to cloud computing to support their omnichannel strategy as it provides retailers the fastest, most efficient way to bring broad sets of data together in a single, secure platform.”

Read more in our: ‘Showrooming: A ultichannel opportunity’ case study

Posted in Consumer, Retail, Technology.

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